The landlord of a small shopping centre in Sai Ying Pun has invited retailers who were forced to quit their shops in the DNA Galleria mall in Tsim Sha Tsui earlier this month to re-establish themselves at the centre in time for the Christmas shopping period.
"We learned that the DNA Galleria tenants were forced to leave at short notice after reading newspaper reports. Our landlord wants to provide them with some space in time to operate their business during Christmas and New Year," said Jandy Lam director of JMS Group.
JMS is marketing the centre in Western District, known as the Second Street Mall, for the landlord Capital On Investment.
A spokesman for an alliance of former DNA tenants, Ivan Wan King-lam, responded cautiously to the offer. "We have received a number of calls from landlords who present themselves as white knights and say they want to help. We will have to consider the offers carefully," he said.
The Second Street Mall, located on Second Street in Sai Ying Pun, is vacant because it has just been renovated. Asking rents range from HK$25 per sq ft to HK$40 per sq ft and JMS says former DNA tenants are free to choose whether they want a short-term lease to trade over the holiday season or a long-term lease.
Tenants of the DNA Galleria shopping mall said they were given just over a month's notice on October 30 to vacate their shops. The three-storey mall is part of the Park Hotel on Chatham Road, and has about 150 shops, mostly selling trendy clothing and accessories.
The tenants said they were required to move out by December 5 at the latest. The DNA Tenants Alliance was then formed by 68 of the affected tenants.
In response to the latest offer, Wan expressed concern over trading prospects at the Second Street Mall. "Passenger flow is limited there and our tenants sell trendy items that may not be suitable for the district," he said.
Capital On acquired the mall, together with its two upper floors, in 2008, when the space was leased to a home for the elderly. Capital On then renovated the ground floor to establish 16 shops ranging in size from 225 sq ft to 1,194 sq ft.
"Some big supermarkets showed interest in leasing the space, but the landlord prefers a more diversified portfolio of tenants," said Felix Lai another director of JMS Group.